Moral Low Ground


Landlord’s Offer to 98-Year-Old San Francisco Eviction Target Mary Phillips Called Disingenuous

In the face of widespread community outrage over a real estate speculator’s plans to evict a 98-year-old woman from her apartment, the property’s landlord says there was never a desire to evict the elderly woman and that she can remain in her home.

David McCloskey, CEO of Urban Green Investments (UGI), said the company, which owns the Dolores Street apartment building where 98-year-old Mary Phillips has reportedly lived for 50 years, will allow the woman to live in her apartment for the rest of her life.

Last week, reports that Phillips was in the process of being evicted sparked a protest outside UGI’s Union Street offices. Dozens of demonstrators, who were led by the tenant advocacy group Eviction Free San Francisco, gathered in support of Phillips.

In a letter to local news station KRON, McCloskey claims UGI “offered Mary Phillips the opportunity to remain in her home for the rest of her life [at] no cost.”

“This offer was first communicated to Ms. Phillips’ lawyer in March 2014 and has been the topic of negotiation since then,” McCloskey’s letter states.

But critics called UGI’s offer disingenuous because it would require Phillips to endure major construction throughout the building around her and would also result in the eviction of her neighbor and caregiver.

“Mary can’t stay here alone, and so this is a false gesture from the landlord,” Eviction Free San Francisco organizer Sarah Sherburn-Zimmer told KRON.

“The reality is that offering the 98-year-old Mary Phillips the opportunity to live alone in a construction zone without her close friend and caregiver being able to stay in the building is an illusory offer, and UGI knows that,” said attorney Steve Collier.

“UGI always intended to evict Mary, but the media attention to Mary’s plight has changed UGI’s attitude, not any concern for her wellbeing,” Collier added.

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